Cold Water Swimming - :20 Minute or 1:30 Feeds

ForeverSwimForeverSwim Pittsburgh, PennsylvaniaCharter Member
edited May 2013 in General Discussion
In a recent discussion about feeding strategy with another marathon swimmer who will be attempting the North Channel this summer, I found that our method was quite different. Due to the extreme cold, I plan to feed every :20 with hot feeds, as quickly as possible. My friend spoke about doing every 1:30 due to the need to keep moving forward and stopping as little as possible. Although I have no desire to change what has always worked for me, I thought I would get the opinions from others on this issue; thank you!
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania U.S.A.



  • jcmalickjcmalick Wilmington, DEMember
    I would not suggest "hot" feeds as much as warm or luke warm feeds. When I tempted Fate and the Farallones last year, I fed every 30 minutes right out the gate (no pun intended although coincidental)...that feed schedule ultimately got bumped up to every 20 minutes to offer up some encouragement and to warm my soul (or so I thought) and this also helped my crew to gauge my responsiveness and defog my goggles. If you up your feed schedule, the best thing is just to make them shorter...increase frequency, decrease duration. Just food for thought!
  • Is he wanting to extend the time he is swimming to outrun the tides? What part of the north channel will he be attempting?
  • loneswimmerloneswimmer IrelandCharter Member
    I'd say the large majority of Irish & UK swimmers feed every 30 minutes, (though I can't say that for certain obviously).

    But I'm not certain anyone has a really specific reason for it other than habit. For Sandycove swimmers it arises because on long training swims a lap of the island will take up to 30 minutes (depending on swimmer speed and different distances as the tide changes). Talking about this with a couple of Dublin swimmers recently, 30 minutes is also the normal interval up there. In Dover it also arises because of the 30/60min pattern set during the weekend training swims when they are catering for a group of training swimmers. Then, if you are training by yourself on a long swim, you want to find a balance. Getting out of the water to feed on a beach here is always the worst part so you don't want to do it too often.

    And you know how it is, once a pattern is set, people don't want to deviate from something that they know works.

    I don't know anyone who feeds every hour and a half apart from the first 2 or 3 hours where people tend to feed hourly before switching to the shorter interval. One hour 30 seems risky because you would require a much higher feed volume to make up for the longer swim time and you'll therefore be stopped for much longer, which is to be avoided in cold water.

  • evmoevmo SydneyAdmin
    edited May 2013
    One of the easiest ways to get cold is to bonk. Personally I find that more frequent feeds keep energy levels more stable, thus avoiding bonking, thus avoiding getting cold.
  • ForeverSwimForeverSwim Pittsburgh, PennsylvaniaCharter Member
    I guess I should have phrased the question a little differently. I know the :20 hot feeds in cold water works very well; I was more interested in hearing if anyone else has heard of taking longer time in between feeds due to keeping moving, thus not stopping and keeping warmer. However, without proper fuel, the body does not stay warm...
    @jcmalick - I actually like 'hot' feeds brother; keep that heat coming!
    @gnome4766 - I will be outrunning those tides as best I can! The only way there is across; Tom Blower's way...
    @loneswimmer - I agree; well put. I simply found that by increasing the interval of feeds (:20), decreasing time feeding actually keeps me feeling physically and mentally 'warmer'...
    @evmo - I agree as well.. Suprising amount of swimmers I hear more and more are feeding quicker than :30 - but again, it all comes down to what works for each of us individually.
    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania U.S.A.

  • malinakamalinaka Seattle, WACharter Member
    I've been training with an uninsulated tow-behind bottle all winter and 15-20min feed intervals in 45-48F water. My feeds take less than 15s to gulp down a bunch of calories. I agree with the need to keep moving to stay warm, but long spans between feeding doesn't seem to be the best way to accomplish this. Find an easy-open bottle, a crew member with good aim, take a gulp, and keep on going.

    I don't wear a wetsuit; it gives the ocean a sporting chance.

  • molly1205molly1205 Lincoln, NebraskaSenior Member
    Just purchased this insulated thermos bottle and used it for warm feeds during a training swim. It is fantastic!

    Only downside is that it doesn't come with an attached loop for a feeding rope. However, that problem is solved with this convenient bottle sleeve:

    Molly Nance, Lincoln, Nebraska

  • david_barradavid_barra NYCharter Member
    ... I just bought 30 12oz Klean Kanteen Wide Mouth Insulated bottles.

    ...anything worth doing is worth over-doing.

    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

  • ChickenOSeaChickenOSea Charter Member
    That's more than my swim budget for the whole year!!!!
    I have one in pink, but find that hot drink leaks out from under the lid
  • david_barradavid_barra NYCharter Member
    edited March 2014
    I have one in pink, but find that hot drink leaks out from under the lid
    I have the sippy cap, but the opening is too small to chug out of. also it isn’t a positive seal. I’ve never had a problem with the caps leaking unless they are cross threaded.

    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

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